Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ace of Swords: Academics and Angst

While swords have the reputation of signifying misfortune (see the Barbara G. Walker card), they also are about intellect, wit (as in "razor"), and communication skills.  Because they are associated with the element of Air, Swords are also about travel. Ace is the first card of a suit, a fledgling idea, a flickering light.  The Ace of Swords may indicate something profoundly different from gloom and doom.  

Kris Waldherr's Ace of Swords has a certain beauty, even though it is sinister at first glance, all stabbed into a barren wasteland, and all.  Inscribed on the hilt is the Ankh, symbol of everlasting life, and above it is the symbol for Hathor, the cow-eyed Egyptian goddess of the restful arms.  Is the handle of the sword always a fan, or does it fold back? Fans and feathers are symbols of Air, the element of freedom, intelligence, swiftness, travel, and lessons learned.  The Sword as a symbol for medicine also comes into play here, because sharp things can kill but can also be used to excise infection and tumors.  The goddess that Kris Waldherr uses for the suit of swords Isis, who brought her husband Osiris back to life from the dead.  In Inuyasha, Sesshumaru (spoilers) brings the little girl Rin back to life with the power of his sword Tensaiga.

The Ace of Swords for the Celtic Deck looks like an offering on an altar.  During school and other tasks involving brain power, such as writing a book or doing research, a person who genuinely, sincerely wants to reach her intellectual goal devotes her mind to the task.  The laptop, the desks, the lab becomes an altar to the goal.
The Celtic Ace of Swords is also the Sword in the Stone of Arthurian legend.  The gaining of wisdom and knowledge the Swords refer to can be arduous.  If the knowledge gained is a "life lesson," the process of gaining the knowledge will probably be trying at best and absolutely terrible at worst. It takes a strong person to come out the other side with grace.  King Arthur was the only person who was worthy enough to pull the sword out of the stone, and still had to plow through a ton of crap, with a lot of personal flaws.  Life can suck. It takes an amazing person to push through the suckage and come out as good or better than they were.

Barbara G. Walker (of course) comes to the party with skulls and the swirling souls of the damned.  Her Ace of Swords reminds us that all must die, even kings.  We all have shitty days, even if we have a lot of money and power and are personally rather attractive.  We're not alone.  Everyone else is swirling around with us.

Back to happier thoughts.  Robin Wood's Ace of Swords is full of glory and epiphany.  The light of revelation shines through the clouds.  The Sword itself is crowned with laurel.  It is sharp and powerful--check out that gleam.  It soars on golden wings, and it says that you can too.  The questioner is intellectually powerful, and/or has a gift for communication. If travel is in the offing, it will be swift and smooth.  The questioner is ambitious and motivated to accomplish his intellectual goals.

Key words:  intellectual endeavors
possible medical issues
Accolades for intelligence

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Nine of Wands: Come at Me

I've been feeling like the Julian De Burgh and Mary Guinan's Celtic Nine of Wands lately.  I started my internship at school, and it is intense. Fulfilling, but intense.  It's really made the social work cohort bond together.  
In tarot, the number nine signifies a climax, before the denouement of the ten.  Ten wraps everything up, while nine is a continuation of the heavy action of the situation (represented by the eight), and/or a response to the demands placed by the situation. The Nine of Wands is a call to gather your troops, to hold steady, and to be watchful.    
You don't have to go it alone.  You may be heading towards victory, with support in your corner.  Gather your cheering squad.  Assemble your fleet.  At least you'll know you have people to comfort you if things don't turn out the way you wanted.  

You may be struggling, but you may also feel strong.  You have something to lean on, whether that be  an ideal or a goal.  You've already accomplished quite a bit.  The symbol on the man's pendant is the rune Algiz, which is the rune of protection (a very powerful rune and one of the runes I feel very attached to). The Algiz on the pendant gives a sense of hope. Sometimes,  when I'm looking at the symbol on the pendant, my brain will see the rune Tyr, which stands for steadfastness and strength.  The rune takes its name from the Norse god Tyr, who put his hand in the sun devouring wolf Fenrir's mouth to prove his word.  The Nine of Wands may be telling you to prepare for a similar test.  You may be bleeding, but you will be damned if you let the bastards take you down.  

Freya stands, sharp eyed and determined, before the staves she has erected. What is behind the fence she has made?  On the other hand, she may be standing behind the staves, to protect herself. It does not change her expression.  Sometimes, the best thing to do is watch and wait, and know that you can handle whatever may come.  Like Scar sings, "Be prepared."  
We may be stripped of everything, sitting butt naked in a cell, and still be a BAMF.  Fight the good fight. Anger may be all that keeps you going, but you still have determination, and you still have one weapon left, something that the guards missed.
If you feel everything has been taken from you, what is the one thing you still have? An imagination to help you escape? Righteous anger? You may have more power than you think.
Are you prepared for any eventuality?

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Chariot

When I see the Chariot in the upright position, it makes me think of smooth sailing.  It can mean literal travel, or accomplishing a goal.  It signifies transitions. 
The Chariot in the Celtic Deck is drawn by creepy horses.  Maybe that's a good thing, though.  They scare everything out of the way.  The Questioner here is very driven to accomplish the task at hand, or they will soon be inspired.  There may be a scary intensity to the Questioner.  Anger may be a motivator.   The Questioner may also feel very restless and reckless.  They may be craving an adventure.  
Sometimes, there is a hint of caution in the Chariot--don't go too fast, don't make your turns too sharp.  Stay in control.  

 In contrast, Barbara G. Walker's Chariot shows a calm, elegant rider.  He isn't even holding on to any reins, just trusting the horses to carry him down the red carpet.  However, he has to stay alert, otherwise, the horses will just wander off in opposite directions.  These two steeds, one black, the other white, may symbolize opposing forces working on the Questioner.  These may be internal, or external.  However, depending on the spread and the question, the Questioner may be successfully moving forward while holding these contradictions in balance.
The symbol on the front of the chariot is the glyph for Hermes, messenger of the gods, god of words. Maybe a message will be delivered for the Questioner.
Rhiannon, Celtic goddess, is the goddess for the Chariot in the Goddess deck.  She rides an ethereal white horse.  Kris Waldherr writes that she "symbolizes the unceasing force of movement that pulls all of life along with it" (The Goddess Tarot, p. 29).  Her three birds sing songs that can carry the dead to life, and the living into death (p. 30).  
A horse carries people to  Tir na Nog, the Otherworld of youth, beauty, and joy.  
 Black is mystery, the unknown, the nighttime and dreams.  Silver is feminine magic, and the Moon.  White is knowledge. Gold is masculine power, and the warm sun that lights the day.  They are in perfect balance, just like the yin/yang symbol on the chariot.  The rider is not only confident, but joyous. The sun shines upon him and his horses.  Things are going really well--either he's got such strong control that he doesn't need reins, or he is much beloved by his horses, so he can rest in the happiness of trust, in himself and in his surroundings. He's taken the first steps and is now on a roll (Get it?). The Questioner may do the same, depending on  the reading.
 His canopy is clear night sky, which makes me think of "traversing across the stars," and the purple is for royalty, and also the color for Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer.  It's also the color of the crown chakra, the chakra that connects us to higher powers and our greatest possible selves.  Forging this connection and reaching our potential can and has been compared to a journey.

I've been interested in the Chariot from an astrological point of view, in particular because it is associated with Luna, my sun sign.  I never really understood the connection between the Chariot and Luna, but this site was very helpful: Check it!  Aeclectic is a great site to browsed, and now the Chariot and Luna make a lot more sense. The Chariot is full of contradictions, like sun/moon, black/white, taking risks/being cautious.  Luna is like that too.  Lunas crave affection, but can push people away with moods as welcoming as barbed wire when they need affection the most.  We're homebodies, but also crave adventure and recognition.

When reversed, the Chariot usually symbolizes two things, frustration and stagnation, and/or recklessness and losing control.  In this case, it serves as a heads-up.  Once, I got the Chariot during a reading and was told to be careful for any car issues.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Our Mistress, Our Maiden, and Our Mother

Let me preface this with good news:
I was accepted into a Master's in Social Work program in a great place.  I've spent the last few months moving and getting into the swing of scholastics. I have just finished several presentations, and several papers (one a 25 pager).  The semester's winding down and I miss blogging!

I've been noticing alignment with the Moon and my life.  The Moon is my ruling heavenly body.  The full moon in Capricorn fell on my birthday, and Capricorn is the opposite sign of Luna.  Then, on my first day of classes, there was a New Moon in Virgo, the sign of diligence and hard work in the Moon phase associated with beginnings.  Finally, for one of my classes, I visited a Hindu Temple.  The night I chose to visit just happened to be on the full moon in Taurus, a good time to mix intellectual duty, spiritual fulfillment, and fun. Therefore, I feel that it was time to talk about the Moon.

 The Moon, drawn by Mary Guinan for Julian DeBurgh's Celtic Deck shows white stones surrounding a mysterious golden glow.  A great pearl of a full moon gleams down on the scene.   The Moon is a mystery.  What are the secrets the questioner is in the process of uncovering?  The Moon tells that there is more than meets the eye.  The Moon casts her silver and pearl glow over rituals and meditation, protecting and illuminating.
Here we have the Crab, naturally, and two wolves gracing Barbara G. Walker's Moon card.  The Crab is venturing into new territory from the mysterious, primordial pool, called by a full moon that's pregnant with possibilities.  The wolves sing to Luna as she rises above two pillars flanking a golden path that leads to darkness.  It's a little eerie.  Where does that path lead? Is it safe? Is it safe to follow the moonlight?  Will we find treasure, or...lunacy?
The Moon pulls our tides, and may also pull our blood, at least, I think so.  Water is also full of treasures, but also threats, just like our subconscious.
By the way, the nine blood drops curving around the Moon there? They represent menstrual blood, and there's nine of them to represent the nine months of pregnancy.  Fun fact: the words moon, month, and menstrual all have the same root! The Moon is associated with the female, although in Japan, Tsukuyomi, is a Moon god, and the Germanic tribes had Mani, and the Mesopotamians had Sin.
Kris Waldherr chose Diana/Artemis for her Moon card.  Diana is the Huntress, and she is known for her harsh punishments (such as turning a guy into a stag and having his own dogs rip him apart, because he saw her bathing), and yet, she has a nurturing aspect to her as well. She helped her mother, Leto, deliver her twin brother, Apollo, right after she herself was born.  She was also the protectoress of girls right until they were married.  She healed Aeneus after his battle injury in the Trojan War.  The Moon itself is associated with illusion and lunacy, but, it is also a source of healing and creativity.
Nature, and the Moon, are cyclical.  Life is cyclical--waxing and waning with periods of activity and periods of rest.  Diana, the Maiden, is the first aspect of the Goddess, followed by Selene, the Mother, and finally by Hecate, the Crone.
In a more verdant landscape than Walker's, Wood's Moon features a little crustacean strolling out of a pond that is blue, not black, and the thin path winds between a small wolf and a very large beagle into a misty rolling field.  The mystery we see in Walker's card is still there, but it seems more nurturing somehow--perhaps because there's some luminescence in the distant horizon, and there's plant life.  Instead of two pillars, there are two stone caves.  The caves, as we've discussed before, symbolize the Earth Mother's womb.
If you look at this card, it can be full or a crescent, waxing or waning. If you see the Moon as waxing, or growing bigger, it might be a fortuitous time for new beginnings.  If it is waning, something may be coming to an end.
A wild wolf and a loyal dog have come together to serenade the Moon in a duet.  The domesticated dog and the feral wolf unite their qualities in the Moon.  The Moon is a loyal, loving mother, but may give you more than you bargained for.  Case in point:

Dorcha is Epona's Wild Daughter.  You can find her in The Faeries Oracle, by Brian Froud.  She's part of the group of Faery Challengers.  She forces the reader to confront what Jung called the Shadow self, or the parts of the self we label bad.  She accompanies us through depression, anxiety, and nightmares, like Hecate. Like Hecate, she may be misunderstood.  Just because there is no light at night does not mean the Moon is not there, and just because somebody shows you frightening things doesn't necessarily mean they are evil.  

 Laiste is Dorcha's sister.  She believes in pulling pranks to wake people up, like when the Moon's light makes things look like things they are not--turning water into solid ground, and trees into skeletons.  She embodies the mystic Moon, and can be whimsical.  However, just like Dorcha, she wants you to be open and go deep.  She and Dorcha are adopted daughters of Hecate, the dark side of the Moon who can be fierce, but shows surprising flashes and glimpses of beauty.  Hecate will then always become Artemis again, new and full of promise of new beginnings, and then become the gentle, loving Selene, and back to the Goddess of Magic.
I think that's one of the reasons I'm so happy Luna is my ruling body.  She's everything--young, old, mother, maiden, wise woman, Queen of Witches.  She guides and obscures.  She's also in a close, personal relationship with Water, element of dreams, love, and emotion.  She is silver and pearl.  She is Maiden, Mother, and Mistress.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

An Enchanting Child: The Page of Cups

To me, the Page (or Princess) of Cups is the Magical Child archetype Caroline Myss speaks about. She's ethereal, loving, and imaginative.
If the Page/Princess of Cups represents a person (as the Court cards are wont to do), that person will have Water characteristics: intuition, sensitivity, creativity, nurturing, emotional, and loving.   Because it is the Page/Princess, this person will probably be a young girl, a child even, though that is not set in stone.

The Princess of Cups for the Celtic Deck seems fragile and sensitive.  She bears a Cup--what that cup might metaphorically hold depends entirely upon your intuition and any surrounding cards--and holds it aloft with a guileless demeanor.  What's interesting about this card, to me, is that the Princess of Cups is clad in gold and red, colors associated with the fiery suit of Wands.  I read this to mean that the passion and desire of the Wands are not mutually exclusive with the intuition and nurturing of the Cups.  Fire and Water are both very emotional elements, and these opposite elements, metaphorically, marry quite well, just like night and day.  
I also love the Impressionistic background on this card.  It's so lush and green.  
The Goddess Deck's Princess of Cups is sipping from her own Cup.  Right now, the message I'm feeling from this card is Jungian--that one's own subconscious is a limitless resource of inspiration, joy, and/or knowledge.  The suit of Cups and Water are aligned with the subconscious.
Kris Waldherr chose the goddess Venus to be the Cup goddess. Cups is the suit for relationships, so the goddess of love was a good choice.  Since the Page of Cups is young, the kind of love this card speaks of is first time love, or a freshly blooming love.  If reversed, this love may be a little immature, a crushing infatuation or an inconsequential crush.
The lavender of Venus' gown is a soft, healing color.  Mixed with water, it becomes a cleansing tea. It's threaded with innocent white and intuitive silver.  The hopeful innocence and imagination of the Cups is very healing.  
Barbara G. Walker's Princess of Cups is Elaine of Arthurian fame. She wears the snow white associated with purity. Her robe and cup are red to signify the power of menstrual blood and the womb as are the two crescent moons on the pillars. The cauldron is a symbol of regeneration, rebirth and immortality. The upside down triangle that pins Elaine's cloak is also a symbol of rebirth and the womb.  The interesting scene on the cauldron is a depiction of a sacrifice and apotheosis (being made into a deity) (Barbara Walker Tarot, 23). The image also reminds me of Achilles being dipped into the River Styx by Thetis to gain immortality--though it's certainly not an exact likeness.  The water sign Pisces is the sign of martyrdom and sacrifice, so it's no wonder that my most esoteric deck uses the Cups to show the theme.
Elaine also looks like an initiate into a great mystery.  Mysteries and spirituality are very Watery areas, as seen in Pisces (the sign of mystics) and Scorpio (the sign of Hecate and the Phoenix), so it's another apropos subject for the Watery Cups to drop.
Robin Wood's Page of Cups is an artist--she has a palette hanging from her belt. Making art is about perception.  What does she see coming out of her cup? What do you see? Is it a bird, or a fish? 
Although she is young, the Page of Cups is quite intuitive. She is also resilient and adaptive, like the lotuses on the hem of her skirt and sleeve.  Lotuses grow out of disgusting muck, and balanced people can take emotional mayhem and make it into something lovely, like a poem, or at least something useful, like a life lesson. 
Page of Cups people have a soft, nurturing moon-like glow.  They are gentle and sensitive, yet very strong and self-assured when they are feeling happy and secure.  The Page of Cups gazes confidently at her cup and what is flying out of it--the fish that swims in the subconscious and finds treasure, or the silver bird that soars high and flies far, seeing all the possibilities.  Her mouth curves into an assessing smile.  She seems to be thinking--what can I make real today? Her imagination is as pure as her heart.  Creating is still fun, and feelings, both hers and other people's, are not scary, but opportunities for learning, helping, and healing.  

If you see the upright Page of Cups regarding a situation, it is a good sign, especially if it is regards 
People associated with the Page of Cups: 
A nurturing child 
A playful, creative person 
An affectionate, trusting person 
Someone who is sensitive and intuitive beyond her years 
A person undergoing a spiritual initiation, like First Holy Communion or Confirmation 
Children who are Luna, Scorpio, and Pisces 

Reversed (Shadowy Pages):
People who take themselves way too seriously 
People who are throw tantrumy and weepy

Reversed Situations: 
A creative block 
High anxiety
A loss of empathy 
Relying too much on the brain and not enough on emotion when making a decision 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here it Comes!

Now is a time of celebration.  Specifically, it is the celebration of the end of suffering.  Christ rises after death.  The Israelites were freed from slavery.  Winter is finally gone--the months of dark and cold have  been warmed away.  The flora and fauna know it, too.  They awaken from their sleep, babies are born, and shoots spring from the snow-damp soil.  It is a Phoenix time.  The sun blazes bright and beautiful.  That which was seemingly dead stirs and stretches.  

The Sun card is a card of triumph, of energy, of joy, of hope, and of healing.  Even reversed, it simply means that the happiness and victory may come later rather than sooner, but it will come.  It means success, rebirth, new ideas, and new babies.  
Barbara G. Walker shows us two small towheaded children (the one on the left looks like a Kewpie doll!), joining hands and holding a chain of ivy.   The children are in the Garden of Eden.  Other possible meanings for the wall are that it is a symbol of safety, or of being a blank slate, full of possibility.  The nudity of the children symbolizes innocence and freedom.  
The Sun is the ruling heavenly body of the astrological sign Leo.  Leo is the 'child' of the zodiac, full of fun and bliss.  

Robin Wood also chose the child as the symbol of the Sun, reflecting innocent joy.  The child also is sign of rebirth, of newness.  The sunflowers bloom brightly in the background.  Robin Wood wrote that she painted four, one for each element, and a couple not yet opened to show the wonderful surprises in store for the questioner.   The white roses in the baby's hair are for pure love, and his red feather, like his banner, represent courage, adventure, and a flair for life.  At the top of the banner is a little golden hawk, a bird associated with courage, freedom, and the sun.  The hawk is an avatar of Horus, the Egyptian god of the sky.  
The pony is white as a cloud, for purity, and his eyes are sky-blue.  Everything is clear and lucid.  

Mary Guinan drew a strong, confident warrior for Julian De Burgh's Celtic Deck. Instead of the childlike joy of Walker and Wood's decks, the Celtic Deck emphasizes the bravery and power of the sun. Leo is the child of the zodiac, but it is also the Lion--regal and majestic.  The Celtic sun warrior is a protector and a path blazer.  
Kris Waldherr chose the Zorya to represent the Sun in her Goddess deck.  The Zorya are a triune goddess (who may be seen as Maiden, Mother/Lover, Wise Woman but not necessarily) from Russian folklore.  In her The Book of Goddesses, Kris Waldherr explains that the Zorya attend to Dazbog, the sun god.  The first (or Maiden) is Utrennyaya, or Morning Star; the second (Mother/Lover) is Vechernyaya, or the Evening Star; and the third (Wise Woman) is Zorya, or midnight.  Utrennyaya opens the gates for Dazbog to ride across the sky.  In the evening, Vechernyaya opens the gate to let him back in. Zorya watches over the sky until the gates open again.  
The three women, like the Celtic warrior, are also guardians.  They watch over the universe, and keep the doomsday hound, Simargl, in check.  The Sun card is a sign that the questioner is guarded and guided by the universe.  There is synchronicity and serendipity. Things may seem to be falling into place. 

The Sun card is a card of good tidings.  It tells of good things to come and success in an endeavor.  If representing a person, it indicates a happy, bright person who will bring cheer to the questioner's life, or help them reach their dreams.  It may also symbolize a new baby.  Alternately, it could mean that the person is fiercely protective of the questioner and her happiness.  

If it represents an aspect of the questioner, it means that the questioner brings happiness to those around him, and may be the center of attention.  The questioner may also be feeling very brave, and willing to take risks. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Celebration! The Three of Cups

The Three of Cups is a happy card.  Just look at Robin Wood's card:
You see? Just look at the pink-garbed blonde on the left! She's thrilled! They all are so happy to see you!
The Three of Cups is all about celebration.  This celebration may be a get-together with friends, a family reunion, a cast party after a great run...anything you can imagine.  While the participants in the joyous occasion may be any gender, this card has a feminine feel to it.
The women are surrounded by green growing things, and flowers and fruit.  This is a time of growth for the questioner, but this is a happy growth.
The three women traditionally associated with this card are the feminine triad of Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

Here, Barbara G. Walker shows the three iconic women, and titles the card "Grace."  The person for whom this card is drawn is graced.  He or she is blessed with contentment, joy, and good company.

You may have noticed that both Barbara G. Walker and Robin Wood have drawn a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead.  The blonde symbolizes the Maiden, the redhead the Wife or Mother, and the brunette the Wise Woman.  On a deeper level, this card is one of feminine power--the potential and purity of the Maiden, the fertility of the Wife/Mother, and the experience of the Wise Woman.  By 'purity' I don't mean virginity, but something more like the mindset of the Fool.  Our Maiden here is open, enthusiastic, and curious.  By fertility, I don't mean necessarily pregnancy, thought that is a possibility, but also the birth of new ideas and creativity.  The Wife/Mother is self-assured. She is the symbolic Wife/Mother of her passions--represented by the color of her hair.  She is generous, a trait that continues with the Wise Woman.  The Wise Woman has dark hair, alluding to her knowledge of mysteries, and her intuition.
The Wise Women is normally seen as an old woman with silver hair.  The Three of Cups shows three young women because this card is associated with new romances, new babies, and weddings (Cups are associated with romantic relationships and family), as well as coming-of-age ceremonies, particularly for young women.

Kris Waldherr includes an older women with silver hair in her Three of Cups.  This card looks like it could be depicting the young woman's initiation.  There is a white gown, for purity, pink for love, and purple for royalty.
The Three of Cups for Julian De Burgh's Celtic deck shows five people, the traditional three and a couple anticipating the birth of their baby. They have gone from the happy couple of the Two of Cups to the family of the Three.

Reversed, the Three of Cups may symbolize dashed hopes or disillusionment in the area of romance, a wedding, or the birth of a new baby.  Metaphorically, it could also mean frustration in a creative pursuit. On a less depressing note, it could mean that there will be a postponement or rescheduling in one of these areas. You may have to wait a little longer for that wedding, or the fertility treatments may take longer than you thought. Perhaps that art gallery opening or performance got pushed back.  Ask yourself if this, while frustrating, may actually turn out for the best.